In a beautiful location nestled in the foothills of Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, Mae Rim in Chiang Mai province, in the northeast part of Thailand, Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden is a relative youngster among botanic gardens, having been established in 1993, but the 1,000 hectares has been planned well and shows good diversity even in its teenage years. Thais are proud of this garden, the first one in the country of international standard.
The tram ride from the front gate to the greenhouse complex was a delight (it also saved us an hour uphill walk) as we snaked up the hillside past ornamental gardens, paved walking trails and native woodlands.
The glasshouse complex has 12 houses, the biggest one having a tropical rainforest theme. Others of particular note are the arid house with quite respectable specimens of cycads, Euphorbia, cacti and succulents. The foot stool–like barrel cactus were a delight to see. The aquatic house was interesting, not what was expected to see under cover. The water plants, lotus, Victoria water lilies and more, are presented attractively in stacked round pools. Particularly colorful are the mauve vanda orchids blooming profusely in the orchid and fern house. The variegated greenhouse was quite interesting as this house contained many exciting variations of everyday plants. Around the greenhouse are beds of ornamental flowering plants, pools of water plants, a floral clock, large skyrocketing fountain, and outdoor orchid displays decorating the edge of a valley overlook.